2019 Statewide High School Graduation
In a show of celebration, resilience and determination more than 120 young men and women of the California Conservation Corps can now call themselves high school graduates.
On Tuesday morning, the group of 18 to 25-year-olds from across the state received their diplomas at the Crest Theater in Sacramento. The accomplishment of earning their diplomas is impressive because their class work is completed in addition to spending long days in miserable conditions doing hard work.
“It’s hard work to work toward and complete your high school diploma,” said CCC Director Bruce Saito. “You should be extremely proud that you had that dedication. That you persevered and that you put your mind to this and you really accomplished something. This is one of many, many more accomplishments along that pathway.”
Corpsmembers earn their diplomas through the CCC’s partnership with John Muir Charter School and Urban Corps Charter School in San Diego. Many Corpsmembers experienced family and personal issues leading them to leave high school without a diploma. Corpsmembers find motivation in one another to achieve their dreams.
“It was my friends who pushed me to finish high school and work hard to succeed in the program,” said CCC Fortuna Corpsmember Joshua Bradish. “I’m beyond grateful to have found what I know will be lifelong friends in the CCC. I wouldn’t have been able to graduate from high school without my supervisor, my friends and my wonderful teacher.”
Corpsmembers like Bradish can only be described as resilient. Left homeless and without a diploma at the age of 18, Bradish’s uncle encouraged him to enroll in the CCC like he had done. It was not an easy process adjusting to an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people, but Bradish found a way.
Graduating from high school is more than just a piece of paper. It’s a start to finding a career and getting to college. It also leaves Corpsmembers forgotten by society feeling pride in what they have accomplished.
“I remember all the times I had to walk or ride the bus to get to class,” said Fresno Corpsmember Bassam Salhi. “I remember struggling to focus on my class work because I was busy thinking about how I was going to pay my bills. But, I never gave up and it was all worth it. I have grown as an individual. I am confident that I will earn my EMT certification and become a medic.”
Each year more than 1,400 young men and women enroll in the CCC. Each year dozens work toward earning their diplomas, ending a cycle of dropouts and failed chances.